Casual Sex: Why Do We Feel So Guilty About Hooking Up?

Dec 19 2017, 6:32 pm

Sex, it’s everywhere. You do it, your mom does it, your grandpa did it (Or does it. Thank you modern medicine). Minus a few ‘test tube babies’, not a single human alive is here without it. Sexual images are projected on television, online, and in your own thoughts. It’s just sex, so why do we feel guilty about hooking up?

Casual sex

What’s the big deal with hooking up?

Studies show that both men and women think about sex an average of 18 – 34 times per day. And yet when the topic of ‘hooking up’ is brought up there are very mixed and even polarizing opinions.

For many the topic is associated with being dirty or impure, as if our natural desires were an error of some sort. We treat it like something that needs to be corrected and look upon those who engage in it casually with disdain. Come on people, it’s not like kicking kittens.

Women in particular feel the ‘shame’ of sex the most. It’s been stigmatized in societies around the world to varying degrees, and women tend to get the most negative attention when expressing themselves sexually. On the other end of the spectrum a promiscuous man will often be looked upon favorably to a certain degree, but often times a negative image of a ‘Predator’ is portrayed.

Even though both sexes want it, seven billion people exist because of it, and it pervades (Get it?) almost every area of the media and consumes a huge portion of our lives, hooking up is still considered taboo.

For many women a rationalization is necessary in order to have sex. Just having sex for the pleasure of it is not generally acceptable. Usually it’s justified by attaching a pretext, “We went out three times” or “We’re dating”, which makes it OK because, “It wasn’t just sex” or just “Because”. For men it’s not typically a problem to have sex without a pretext. This causes a double standard to often be applied against women such as “She was so easy”. Sound like predator and prey to you? They both wanted it but one partner get’s the short end of the stick. No pun intended.

With all of the baggage attached to sexuality it’s a mystery how some people are able to make it happen at all, except baggage can’t kill our desire for it. Of course, there are certain context which make it acceptable in society’s eyes such as within the confines of marriage or a committed relationship.

When looked at from a non emotionally-attached perspective though, the context of a relationship does not change the act itself. It’s still sex, only thought about differently.

A lot of this has to do with our history. Religious conditioning and control of the means of production have played a huge role in the shaping of our perspectives and attitudes on sexuality. In some societies people are still punished for sexual expression outside of marriage, and the topic of gay and lesbian sex is frowned upon in most countries.

In the 60s a ‘Sexual revolution’ took place, butting heads with the conservative status quo and and opening sexuality up as a topic that could then be discussed more openly. In Europe a much more liberal attitude has been adopted. Places such as Amsterdam have Red light districts where the sex trade is legal and generally considered morally acceptable.

Still, much of our thinking is stigmatized when it comes to casual hook ups. Most of the time people can’t explain why it’s bad, but it just is, M’kay. This is usually a sign of unconscious social conditioning, because if you don’t have a reason for your beliefs then why do you believe them?

The taboo of sex can charge up desire itself because it creates a sort of escape from the norm (being naughty), allowing people to be free even if only briefly. How brief that freedom is depends on your partner, or pharmacist (wink).

So what should you do if you find your self with major inhibitions and guilt surrounding your own sexuality or that of other people? Below is the kill list for frivolous beliefs surrounding sexuality. 

How To Kill The Guilt Surrounding Sexuality

1) Explore your beliefs

Why do you believe what you believe? If you can’t answer this question then it’s time to analyze why it is that you have these beliefs in the first place. Most of the time this can be attributed to social conditioning from childhood, the media, or traditions. We tend to absorb a lot of information and most of it never get’s scrutinized. This results in a lot of contradictory beliefs not grounded in reality. If your point of view is not based on facts and/or does not benefit you, consider making a change.

2) Work through your negative feelings

Now that you’ve identified beliefs which don’t make sense it’s time to figure out what you actually would like your lifestyle to be like. Start by exposing your self to contrary opinions from the one which you have always held and rooting out all possible outcomes. Write down what you have missed out on because of these beliefs and then write down what you would like to experience.

3) Explore

Now that you have explored your thoughts and disemboweled your social confinement, it’s time to try a little sexual liberation. It may not be easy for many people as it’s likely that the old conditioning will still cause a gut reaction. Take it easy and move slowly towards your new found lifestyle goals. The point isn’t to sleep with as many people as possible, but to be truly free from old conditioning when you want to have the experience. The difference is being able to make a decision for your self instead of having to follow rules which don’t make sense, and feeling guilty if you don’t.

No matter what, sex is a deeply personal choice. How we use our bodies shouldn’t be taken lightly. However a little less of the shame might make life a more enjoyable adventure to be shared. Before judging anyone else for their sexual choices look more closely at why you feel that way in the first place.

Featured image: Matej Jurčević

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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